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Sport England gets tough with new funding announcement

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Sport England yesterday (November 18) announced new streamlined plans that will revolutionise the funding of sport and National Governing Bodies in England.

Sport England chair, Patrick Carter and chief executive, Roger Draper in a press conference at the organisation’s new central London offices, said that future funding procedure was going to be far more efficient, demanding, and driven by the goals and performances of NGBs, measured against targets set in advance.

Sport England has identified 20 key sports that will receive priority funding, in order to encourage sporting success, both in elite terms and in improving participation. The 20 sports include the existing 10 from UK Sport’s strategy (mainly Olympic events) and a further 10, including badminton, cricket, football, both rugby codes, netball and tennis. For these 20 sports, £130m has been set aside to invest in improving national and international levels of performance.

Patrick Carter called on NGBs to “come forward and be counted” in taking greater responsibility for the performance of their sports on a world stage.

The announcement comes after a torrid period for Sport England, which has downsized considerably, shedding hundreds of jobs around the country. Carter said that the period of belt tightening had, while painful, been a success, identifying £50m of “new money” in the £130m windfall that will go to the ‘priority’ sports.

Draper added that realigning Sport England in a more business-like and strategic fashion had given them a new perspective and that they would “get tough on sports with poor management.” The new mechanisms, to come into force after Athens, would require NGBs to deliver a four year business plan, outlining their intentions and objectives. Failure to meet these goals would result in reduced funding for the next cycle.

Sport England, Draper said, was looking for more “accountability, with sporting outcomes producing further funding.” Carter said that underperforming organisations will not receive the luxury of continued financial support: “The bottom line is that we don’t have to give them the money.”

In addition to the 20 ‘priority’ sports, which were identified by analyzing participation figures, and assessing their importance to the public, Sport England also highlighted a secondary stream of sports – including basketball, lacrosse, table tennis, boxing and volleyball – that would continue to receive support to continue their development. "We are the third most successful sporting nation in the world across all sports, but only tenth in sports the public most want," Draper said. Details: www.sportengland.org

Email us with your thoughts on this announcement: sm@leisuremedia.com

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Sport England yesterday (November 18) announced new streamlined plans that will revolutionise the funding of sport and National Governing Bodies in England.
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